Office 365 for Project Management

February 17, 2017 New Signature

Project management requires a high level of organization, and the right technology can help take your projects from chaos to smooth collaboration. Within Office 365 specifically, you have several tools and systems from which to choose. What is the best way to build a solution for managing projects? There isn’t one easy answer – Office 365 gives you options, but you must weigh all the pros and cons.

Let’s explore the options and ideas for building a great project management solution for your team.

Common Challenges

Let’s start with why managing projects can be challenging. The common challenges we have seen include:

  • Hard to find information: Information is not organized, or people are forced to look in multiple locations.
  • Progress tracking is not easy: Task status and schedules get out-of-date quickly
  • Lack of visibility: Management doesn’t have visibility of status across a portfolio of multiple projects
  • Too many emails! Conversations and decisions get lost easily.

What’s the best way to manage projects with Office 365?

Office 365 provides options to help get around these challenges. My top 5 recommendations for managing projects in Office 365 are:

1. Share documents in a centralized location (e.g. SharePoint)

2. Engage in conversations in Yammer or Teams. Why? Conversations are centralized and grouped by topic, you can use tags and @mentions to direct conversations, and it’s all searchable. Way better than losing stuff in email!

3. Use a simple and user-friendly task-tracking tool, such as Planner. Make sure people are assigned to items so they can focus on what’s important to them. Project managers can use Microsoft Project for a more complex work breakdown.

4. Keep meeting notes in OneNote (Outlook has great connectors between meetings and OneNote).

5. Track budget, risks and changes in a SharePoint or Excel list.

Sometimes, team members can feel lost between these different tools. How do you direct people to one place to see everything connected to a project? How do you let people know whether you’re on track? New Signature experts saw a need for a tool to shed light on all the areas in which productivity can be lost or status updates fall through the cracks.

Add Projects Hub to the mix

While the Office 365 tools focus on specific components of project management, a unified user experience can help people get their jobs done more efficiently.

New Signature has built a lightweight solution that fills the gaps in tracking project progress and communication status. Projects Hub, available in the Microsoft Office Store, is an extension for SharePoint and SharePoint Online that brings together the best project management tools in Office 365.

Projects Hub is an organized place for teams to start working with projects, and for management to understand progress and status. Some of the useful features for communication and efficiency include:

Roll-up of portfolio of projects with up-to-date status for scope, budget, schedule:

1-project-directory-blur

 

Organized project template with a status communication area:

2-status-report

Built-in lists to track risk, change, and budget:

3-risk-change-budget

To discover how Projects Hub can enhance your current project management environment, begin by downloading your free trial in the Microsoft Office Store, or contacting a collaboration expert at New Signature.  

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